Outage that dropped 911 calls in 4 states caused by light pole installation, company says

The installation of a light pole is to blame for a mass outage across at least four states this week that disrupted 911 service for hours, officials say.

"At this point we understand that the outage affected Nevada, Texas, South Dakota, and Nebraska," the Federal Communications Commission released in a statement to USA TODAY Friday.

The outage began Wednesday night in and lasted for at least two hours in some of the states, according to information from the commission as well as city and state leaders.

Lumen Global Issues Director Mark Molzen told USA TODAY the states experienced an outage due to a third-party company installing a light pole and said it was "unrelated to our services.”

He did not say name the third party.

Lumen is a telecommunications company that provides 911 service and supports other communications systems across the world.

"We restored all services in approximately two and a half hours," Lumen said. "Our techs identified the issue and worked hard to fix it as quickly as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate our customers' patience and understanding."

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FCC is investigating the 911 outage

Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Chairwoman, said the commission is looking into what caused the service disruption.

“When you call 911 in an emergency, it is vital that call goes through," Rosenworcel released in a statement Thursday. "The FCC has already begun investigating the 911 multi-state outages that occurred last night to get to the bottom of the cause and impact.”

Officials speak on 911 outage challenges

In South Dakota, the Argus Leader, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported Sioux Falls Metro Communications interim director Mike Gramlick said the outage was reported just before 8 p.m.

He said calling services were down throughout Sioux Falls as well as the rest of the state and services were restored on the South Dakota 911 system around 10:38 p.m. Wednesday.

“It's obviously never ideal but I will say that our preparations and our ability to adapt to what happened last night quickly ensure that our public safety services continue to be delivered without that knowledge,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken told reporters Thursday during a press conference.

Officials in some cities were reminding residents to save their city's respective non-emergency phone number in the event a similar situation occurs again.

Contributing Trevor J. Mitchell with the Argus Leader.

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on X @nataliealund.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 911 outage in 4 states caused by light pole issue, FCC investigating